Southfield Dog Park, Union Point, 25 Memorial Grove Ave, Weymouth, MA 02190, USA
Owned By: Town of Weymouth
Two miles of trails on a former Naval Air Station property. A mix of natural surface, crushed stone, concrete and paved trails through woodlands and meadows. Stroller-friendly in some sections. Note: Proceed with caution. At this time (December 2021), these trails are in serious need of maintenance.
Naval Air Station South (NAS) Weymouth was commissioned on this site in March 1942, however construction work began in the late fall of 1941, a few months before the United States entered World War II. Originally the base operated blimp combat patrols. During the Battle of the Atlantic, blimps based here helped protect U.S. ships from German submarines.
The base was downgraded to a Naval Air Facility after WWII. The blimp hangars were repurposed as storage for war surplus naval aircraft. In 1949, the base was redesigned as a Naval Auxiliary Landing Field. In 1950, after the closure of NAS Squantum in Quincy, South Weymouth became the new home of the Navy and Marine Air Reserve training program. Between 1951 and 1953, three new runways were constructed, and other improvements were made to support the reserves. One blimp hangar was demolished at this time. The other remained in place until November 1966.
In December 1953 the base was recommissioned as a Naval Air Station. It remained a reserve training base throughout the Cold War era, and also hosted the Naval Air Development Unit (NADU), a secretive research & development command. NADU aircraft provided flight testing support for military research.
After the end of the Cold War in 1991, NAS South Weymouth was among many military bases nationwide that were selected for closure. The last aircraft took off from the base in September 1996, and the official closure took place on September 30, 1997.
The former Naval Air Station is now being developed as Union Point, with a variety of uses. The transformation is far from complete, which makes this a fascinating place to visit. Old barracks, bunkers, and other buildings, plus fences, roads and gates offer glimpses of the military past. Please be mindful of private property.
There are several trailheads to this 2-mile system. Perhaps the easiest to locate is the one near the Southfield Dog Park. Some trails leads through the woods, or fields, or wetlands. Others are more like sidewalks. Still others are old roads from the property’s past as a military base. Surfaces range from natural to crushed stone to concrete to pavement. Trails are not fully marked, but there are some blue blazes to follow, and there is signage at some of the trailheads.
Also of interest, immediately adjacent, is Shea Field Memorial Grove, dedicated in 1997. It’s hard to miss the A4D-2 Skyhawk jet mounted there! The Grove commemorates Navy Commander John J. Shea, as well as the Naval Air Stations at Quantum and South Weymouth, and the men and women who served there. The park also honors 32 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Habitats and Wildlife
Open fields, wetlands, and relatively young woodlands. Pine, oak, beech, red maple and white birch. An example of what happens when nature is allowed to take control of lands that were once cleared. The property lies within the watershed of the Weymouth Back River watershed. Its waters flow northeast toward Whitman’s Pond and the Weymouth Back River.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 2 miles of trails
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Limited parking at the Southfield Dog Park.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Weymouth Back River watershed